Qik and the Space Shuttle Endeavour launch

In this article, I compare streamed video using an Nokia N95 and Qik with video shot on an Exilim EX-277. The difference in results is startling. Is streaming video up to the task?
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

The market for video on-demand, streaming and other forms of video content production is set to explode. In the last year, I can think of at least seven new services that have grabbed attention: Qik, Seesmic, Ustream.tv, Mogulus, bambuser, Veotag and DailyMotion - all of which have some appeal. I've been playing with Qik, a real-time streaming video application for some time popular among the Twitterati.

Last month I met with co-founder Bhaskar Roy, who said that Qik has application in emergency services, insurance and healthcare. The company claims to have early contracts with law enforcement but would not be drawn into naming names. This style of application has value because of its immediacy and potential value in reducing cost and improving business process. It is early days but it is still worthwhile considering how these services might evolve.

Last evening I conducted a (unscientific) test to see how Qik stands up under extreme conditions. Along with Mike Prosceno and James Farrar, I visited Kennedy Space Center to see the first night time Space Shuttle launch in some two years. I live streamed the event - or rather what you can see at the equivalent of the bleachers at six miles distance - on Qik using a Nokia N95 and simultaneously recorded onto an Exilim EX-Z77 which I then lightly edited and posted the results to blip.tv, another video streaming service.

No-one could reasonably call the Exilim a pro quality video recording device but even so, the difference in video results quality is startling. Granted the conditions were extreme and live streaming in these conditions is always going to be subject to the quality of the 3G connection, but my sense is that video quality will have to improve for this type of service to proliferate. The saving grace is that despite the differences, sound quality was roughly comparable. Curiously, people will forgive poor video provided the sound quality is up to snuff but I'll let readers be the judge.

Endnote: the video at the top is the Qik version, the Exilim version can be found at this location.

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